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In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, local law enforcement agencies have been arresting citizens who purchased scheduled prescription drugs from Internet pharmacies. WAFB reporter, Paul Gates, reported that a number of arrests were made and more were to come.

Phentermine, a popular diet pill, is one of the most popular online drugs purchased. Consumers of this drug range in all ages, from teens to grand mothers, and are probably unaware that they are breaking any laws. They log online, price compare, complete a short health survey, order the drugs, and then wait for them to arrive at their door.

What Law Is Being Broken?

Those arrested were informed that the doctors and the online pharmacies where they made their purchases were not licensed in the state to distribute narcotics, so those who purchased drugs from them are considered in possession of illegal drugs.

One example cited was that of a woman who was targeted by the task force after she received three parcels containing phentermine from Federal Express. The police arrested her at her home and charged her with possession of Schedule 4 controlled dangerous substances. When she was unable to produce a prescription for the drugs she was placed under arrest.

Local attorney, Lewis Unglesby, told Gates that those arrested may not have violated any law. Unglesby says, "The drugs are legal, you start with that. They are legal drugs so there's nothing wrong with people possessing the drugs. In the absence of any evidence they are re-selling them or acting like a medical facility or pharmacy and distributing them... then I don't see how they're breaking any law."

Up until now the Drug Enforcement Agency and the U.S. Attorney's office have not been involved in any of the Baton Rouge arrests. That may change however, once the debate is settled as to who is breaking the laws -- the doctors, the pharmacies, or the buyers. In the meantime, buyers beware. You may be breaking a local law and get a criminal record for drug possession.

To verify that your online purchases are legal, see Frequently Asked Questions About Dispensing and Purchasing Controlled Substances Over the Internet

See Also:
So, Is Buying Online Prescriptions Illegal?


December 18, 2008 at 8:16 am
(1) Hannah says:

To arrest this woman – and others such as her in this manner for this reason is the height of cruelty and typical abuse of the law enforcement system. She, and others like her likely had no idea what phentermine even is – I don’t – it sounds like an otc med. Why not use more humane treatment and alert her and those like her to her infractions, go after the companies deceiving people, then if those informed continue to offend humiliate and torture them? I can only imagine the shame put upon poor unsuspecting people seeking help for various conditions without a knowledge of medications or the laws re. such to publicly be handcuffed, incarcerated, et al when they had no idea they did anything wrong. As many Americans have long concluded something is terribly wrong with our legal system, and as a man of high stature alerted us in ’66, the law is for the criminal, not the innocent, we are automatically assumed and judged guilty. But, in reference to this issue, one’s heart is broken with the miscarriage of justice, the crucifixion of the innocent with never a warning or education. FEW citizens are pharmacists, you know.

December 10, 2009 at 3:25 pm
(2) Jeremy says:

I feel our medical system is going to “hell in a handbasket”! I do not have insurance and being able to buy meds online has saved me many times!

Having said that, I started a website, medmaven.com to help offer consumers information.

July 9, 2010 at 4:19 pm
(3) Marie says:

Hypothetical #1: An American citizen buys drugs that were manufactured & sold in the US. That’s legal. Hypothetical #2: The same Americah citicizen buys the same drugs except that the drugs were exported first to Canada and purchased from a Canadian pharmacy. That’s illegal. Why? What altered the facts except that the drugs took a visit to Canada before being sold. Would the drugs be renedered illegal if the American purchased his drugs in the USA and travelled with them back and forth to Canada? No. Why? It seems to me the only reason to make Canadian drug purchases illegal is to protect investors of pharmaceutical stocks.

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